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State to decide on spending to improve mental health care

When the General Assembly reconvenes in August, it will decide how to spend about $4 billion Virginia is getting from the American Rescue Plan.

State officials say Virginia’s “dangerously” full mental hospitals are overwhelmed amid staffing shortages, a situation that has long plagued the hospitals and only worsened during the pandemic. 

But The Washington Post reports that lawmakers and policy experts hope pandemic relief funds can help bring about systematic changes that free inpatient beds and develop community services to keep people out of hospitals in the first place. 

When the General Assembly reconvenes in August, it will decide how to spend about $4 billion Virginia is getting from the American Rescue Plan.

A joint subcommittee studying mental health services is preparing recommendations for how to use the funds in time for the session.